Critically important antibacterial agents for human medicine for risk management strategies of non-human use

The World Health Organization (WHO) convened an international expert Drafting Group on Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Health from 15 to 18 February 2005 in Canberra, Australia. The meeting was organized to follow up a FAO/WHO/OIE consultative process on Non-Human antimicrobial agents are essential drugs for human health and animal health and welfare. Resistance to antimicrobials is a global public health concern that is impacted by both human and non human usage.

Procedure The panel that met in Canberra, Australia, first developed criteria to identify Critically important antibacterial agents and then applied the criteria to each drug or class of drugs. The term “class” of drugs as used here refers to agents with similar chemical structures that exert an effect on the same target in bacteria and may be affected by the same mechanisms of resistance (for example, ketolides are considered a variation on the macrolide class and not a separate class of drugs). In developing the criteria, the panel took into account how certain antibacterial agents are used in human medicine, the seriousness of the diseases treated with those agents and the availability of alternative therapies in the treatment of such diseases. In this way, the panel was able to assess the potential impact to human health of the potential loss of utility of antibacterial agents due to bacterial resistance to them. The panel also took into consideration pathogenic and commensal bacteria (or their genes) that may transfer to people from animals, food products, or the environment. The panel did not consider how this list will ultimately be used to formulate risk management strategies for use of antimicrobials in animals. This will be the focus and task of future meetings.

World Veterinary Association
October 11, 2005

Original web page at World Health Organization